How Will The Chasm In Golf Affect The 2023 Golfing Season & Major Tournaments

By Ian John
January 24, 2023

Last year was one of the most divisive and dramatic in the long and often staid history of top level golf.

The emergence of the Saudi Arabian-backed LIV Golf Tour, and the defection of a number of top PGA Tour and DP World Tour players to it, opened up a divide in the world of golf, the like of which has not been seen in the sport before.

With high levels of acrimony between the rival camps and despite murmurings from the great and good in the game that all parties needed to get together to try and come to some kind of mutually beneficial resolution, the game of golf at the highest level remains utterly divided.

And with potential bans looming on players from the LIV Tour when it comes to certain US PGA and DP World Tour events, this is having a marked effect on the betting for tournaments both ones running at this early part of the year and the forthcoming Majors and Ryder Cup.

Of course, you can still bet on all the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and LIV Golf tournaments throughout the year, as well as the Majors and the Ryder Cup with bet365 Sport.

Indeed the betting site is already taking bets on which players will win the four Major tournaments this year, as well as early betting on whether the United States or Europe will win the Ryder Cup when it is contested in Italy in the early Autumn at the Marco Simone Golf Club.

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The Current Situation

So where does the game of golf stand with the current PGA Tour & DP World Tour v LIV Golf debacle?

Presently, the US PGA Tour has banned any player that plays in a LIV Golf Tour event from competing in any US PGA sanctioned events.

This ban is indefinite, which means that there is no scope for players affected by the ban to return to US PGA Tour action any time soon.

A case brought against the USPGA Tour by initially 11, but now 10, members of the LIV Golf Tour will not be heard until Autumn 2023 at the earliest and until then, these players will be banned from USPGA Tour events.

However, despite wanting to apply sanctions in a similar way to LIV Golf rebels, the DP World Tour has not been able to impose such a ban as yet, meaning that until February 2023 at least, LIV Golf players can play in DP World Tour events.

That is because at the very last minute, a judge imposed a pause on those sanctions, which were a £100,000 fine plus suspension from DP World Tour events, until a full hearing takes place in February 2023.

The hearing will take place over five days in front of a panel and will be presided over by Sport Resolutions UK.

But What About Golf’s Major Tournaments?

This is where things get interesting as all four Majors in Golf, are not controlled by either the US PGA or the DP World Tour.

Two Majors have already declared that they will not be banning LIV Golf players that are eligible from participating in their events.

The British Open was first to make the move to make it clear that it would not be altering over 150 years of history by banning players from competing in the Open tournament.

Similarly, Augusta National, who run The Masters, the first Major of the year, also confirmed that any player from any tour that meets their qualification criteria, will be invited to play.

Although the PGA Of America, who host the USPGA Championship and the USGA, who organise the US Open, have not yet made their stance clear, it would be hugely surprising if they did not follow the example set by the organisers of the other two majors.

So we may well see LIV Golf players at the Majors this year, but how many we will see is a more interesting point.

Many LIV Golfers At Big Disadvantage In Qualifying For Majors

One of the key components towards qualifying for a Major is collecting enough ranking points during the course of the season to play your way into the automatic qualifying positions for the event.

However, since the LIV Tour began back in 2022, none of their players competing in their tournaments have earned ranking points from them.

That means that unless a LIV Golf Tour professional has already earned an invitation to a Major previous to joining the LIV Golf Tour, say by winning a Major in previous years, then it is extremely hard for LIV Golf Players to automatically qualify for the Majors.

That could well lead to some of the top stars set to miss out being forced to play in Qualifying tournaments for the Major Championships, if of course they are allowed to (which, in theory at least, they should be).

Here are the LIV Golf Stars that WILL be able to compete in this year’s Majors (and others going forward).

  • Phil Mickelson – Exempt for US Open until 2026 – Can play for life in Masters and PGA Championship and can play until 2060 for the British Open.
  • Dustin Johnson – Can play Masters for life and can play all other Major championships until 2025.
  • Bryson DeChambeau – Can play the US Open until 2030 and can play all other Majors until 2025.
  • Brooks Koepka – Can play USPGA for life, the US Open until 2029 and all other Majors until 2024.
  • Patrick Reed – Can play The Masters for life and he can play all three other Majors until 2023.
  • Sergio Garcia, Bubba Watson, Charl Schwartzel – Can Play the Masters for life, but does not qualify for any other Major this year.
  • Henrik Stenson – Can play the Open until 2036, but does not qualify for any other Major this year.
  • Martin Kaymer – Can play the US Open for life and the USPGA until 2024 but has not qualified for any other Major this year.
  • Louis Oosthuizen – Can play the Open until 2042 but may miss out on other Majors this year due to falling below the top 50 in the rankings.
  • Joaquin Niemann – Can likely play in all Majors in 2023 after finishing 14th on the USPGA money list and qualifying for the Tour Championship.
  • Abraham Ancer – Can play in the 2023 USPGA Championship but may miss the other Majors if he continues to slide down the rankings.
  • Talor Gooch, Kevin Na, Harold Varner III, Jason Kokrak – all qualify for The Masters for finishing 2022 inside the world’s top 50 players but may not earn enough OWGR points to play in the other Majors.

What’s Happening With the Ryder Cup?

It appears that players that have signed with LIV Golf will not be deemed available for selection for the forthcoming Ryder Cup in October 2023.

Both the United States and European teams are controlled by their respective tours and as such, LIV Golf players won’t be permitted to participate in the events.

What Does The Future Hold?

Despite it being increasingly apparent that there needs to be discourse between the feuding parties in golf, that prospect seems a long way off with the DP World Tour/LIV hearing in February and the ongoing litigation in the United States instigated by ostracised LIV Tour members.

Until those issues are out of the way, it seems unlikely any productive talks could be held, and by then the schism in golf may well have developed into something longer lasting and even more divisive.

With little willingness to compromise, it may be the case that the only time we sell all the best golfers in the world together in any golf year will be at the Majors and that is a shame as it does devalue every other tournament on all tours, significantly.

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